How to Select a Curved Arque Glass Block for a Shower Wall, Partition or Decorative Column
A curved wall can be cool, sleek, and contemporary design – this can really make a shower, wall or partition stand out. The problem with this type of project for most people has usually been cost. The creation of the Arque finishing block (by Pittsburgh Corning) and the 22 degree Variant block (by Mulia) has created a cost effective solution to this problem. Below you’ll learn more about these products (their sizes & patterns, advantages and disadvantages and decorative options).
Definition – An Arque or Variant block are blocks with a tapered shape that can create smooth, graceful curved walls or glass columns in small spaces. Each of these blocks makes a 22 degree turn.
- 5 3/4” x 7 3/4” x 3 7/8” outside face & 4 ½” x 7 ¾” x 3 7/8” inside face (Decora & Icescapes patterns by Pittsburgh Corning)
- 4” x 8” x 3 7/8” (Wave pattern & Iceberg patterns by Mulia)
Advantages of using a curved arque or variant glass block
- Create a curved wall in a small space – Using 4 Arque glass blocks you can create a 90 degree turning radius in a space as small as 12”. This will allow you to create a walk in shower in a standard tub space (60” x 32” or 60” x 34”).
- Makes consistent grout or silicone joints in a curved glass block wall – Before the invention of the Arque block the only way to make a radius glass block wall was to use standard blocks and have a small mortar joint (usually about 1/8”) on the inside and a bigger joint (usually 5/8”) on the outside. Since the Arque block is tapered the joints on the inside and outside are the same size.
- Less expensive than curved bent glass – Glass blocks will usually be about ½ the price of curved bent glass.
- Meets tempered glass codes for use in wet areas.
- Minimizes the effects of water spotting & maximizes privacy – Patterned glass blocks (like the wave, decora, icescapes and iceberg patterns) show very little spotting – a major advantage over clear glass shower walls – and provide privacy as well (which is nice for a shower or conference room wall).
- Can be made in pre–assembled sections – Curved blocks can be pre-made with the rest of the glass block wall to improve the finished quality of a project, make the installation easier (using a stack, anchor and grout system) and cut field labor costs.
- Use for a wide variety of applications – Create a curved walk in shower, partition wall or even a glass block decorative columns (you can add lighting for effect – can make for a cool look around a landscaping post or around a pool area).
Disadvantages of using a curved arque or variant glass block
- Arque blocks are more expensive than standard glass blocks – Non-shaped glass blocks are cheaper than the shaped units – so a radius wall using the old style method will have lower material costs (the drawback to this approach is it requires a high level of installation skill using the block by block masonry method).
- Available in limited sizes – The curved blocks only come in two sizes which may limit some designs.
- Requires a mortar or silicone joint between the units – Unlike curved bent glass (which is one solid piece of glass) the curved block wall will have a joint (which will vary between 1/8” and ¼”) between the blocks.
Curved glass blocks are no longer just available in clear units. Have some fun with your shower or partition wall with these design options:
- Frosted or colored glass blocks – using over 104 different colors you can add a distinctive look to your wall project.
- Glass block tiles – Glass tiles can be fused on to the curved blocks for a sleek, contemporary style.
- Combining different sizes – you don’t have to use all the same sized blocks – mix it up with 2 or more different sizes to create a one of a kind design.
If you have any questions or words of wisdom about using curved blocks please comment below.
If you need any help designing a curved walk in shower, partition wall, or decorative glass column or want a quotation contact Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), or Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Dayton and Cincinnati. For a complete bathroom remodeling project contact Cleveland Design & Remodeling (216-531-6085), Columbus Design & Remodeling (614-252-7294) or Bath Doctor of Cincinnati (513-742-6674).